HISTORY REPEATING 2020

Het werk van Ralph de Lange bevindt zich in het scheidsvlak tussen een wens en de onzekerheid van de uitkomst. Zijn onderzoek in de begin jaren staat in het teken naar het verlangen van de mens. Volgens De Lange is de Romantiek van de 19 e eeuw dood. Hij stelt daartegenover het paradoxale van het verlangen.
De Lange is in 1962 geboren in Heiloo een dorp in Noord - Holland. Sinds de jaren negentig woont hij in Amsterdam. Van 1982 tot 1986 studeert hij aan de Amsterdamse hogeschool voor de kunsten. Vanaf het begin van zijn oeuvre werkt hij figuratief tegen het tijdsbeeld in. Tegen de abstractie en de postmoderne houding van de jaren negentig werkt De Lange aan een anachronistische figuratieve beeldtaal.
De grote olieverfschilderijen onderzoeken in de vroeg jaren 90 de tijd van de 17 e eeuw in Nederland. Volgens De Lange een obscure tijd. In het evenaren van zijn picturale voorbeelden stuitte hij op een inhoud die hij beschrijft als ‘Claire -en- obscure’. Dit als tegenhanger van het beroemde schilderkunstig gebruik van de Claire obscure. Madonna met lange lappen vlees, jonge kinderen strijdend, vrouwen sensueel aangeboden.
Via de anachronistische weg verschuift het onderzoek naar het tijdvak van de Romantiek. De mens als worstelaar, een zoeker met de blik op de horizon. Maar de horizon van wat vraagt De Lange zich af. De figuren verschijnen radeloos, als zwervers, anorexiapatiënten, dronkaards. De portretten zijn zielloze figuren die hij via de verf radeloos aan ons achter laat.
Het nieuwe millennium brengt grote werken naar een nog groter formaat. Dit om de strijd aan te gaan met Billboards, advertenties en het filmscherm formaat. Het formaat speelt een grote rol door de tegenhanger te willen zijn van een mediawereld vol met reclame. De onmacht blijft na het kijken van de beelden uit de media, de tv en in de films. De computer doet daar een schep bovenop. De Lange maakt de beleving centraal in het door zijn zelf geformuleerde tegengewicht: ‘Don’t look now’. De onmacht van de perfectie die hoofdzakelijk uit Hollywood komt overwaaien. De terugkeer naar het centrum van zijn uitgangspunt: 'De paradox van het verlangen' vindt zijn uiting in het paradoxale.
De wensen blijven steken in de vernietiging (Ophelia 2006-2008) of in het onmogelike van de zoektocht zelf (The impossible 2010 -2012). Na een verblijf van 2 maanden in Los Angelos ontstaat de serie ‘The search’ en ‘The impossible’ waar de keerzijde van de film wereld met zijn sterren centraal staat. Een gefabriceerd wereldbeeld met de naam Hollywood.
De daaropvolgende jaren verdraait De Lange zijn blik weer naar Europa. De godsdienst en zijn bedrog (The mission 2015), de godsdienst zijn uittocht naar het Kalifaat (The arrival 2016). Daarna volgt de opkomst van Trump in 'Move on" 2018.
De tirannie, de oorlogen, de onmacht bereikt De Lange via de media. Bijna alle beelden die hij schildert, zijn gebaseerd op reeds bestaand materiaal, zoals film stills, foto’s zelf gemaakt, gevonden op het internet of via de lokale markten in kaarten bakken. De nadruk wordt gelegd op de verbeelding van de fotografische werkelijkheid. Hij onderzoekt de afbeelding door middel van zijn schilderkunstige uitstalling waarmee hij een betekenis vind die verder ligt dan de gevonden foto.
Doordat de informatie van zijn onderwerpen ongewild naar hem toe komen, verdraait hij de feiten tot zijn imaginaire wereld. De laatste twee jaar werkt hij aan een serie waarin het midden Oosten centraal staat. De naam is veelzeggend en bevragend: ‘The Mirror’.

 

HISTORY REPEATING 2020

Ralph de Lange's work finds itself in the dividing line between a wish and the uncertainty of the outcome. His research in the early years revolves around human longing. According to De Lange, the Romantic era of the 19th century is dead. He contrasts this with the paradox of desire.
De Lange was born in 1962 in Heiloo, a village in North Holland. He has lived in Amsterdam since the nineties. From 1982 to 1986 he studies at the Amsterdam University of the Arts. From the beginning of his oeuvre, he works figuratively against the time frame. De Lange is working on an anachronistic figurative visual language against the abstraction and postmodern attitude of the nineties.
The large oil paintings in the early 90's investigate the time of the 17th century in the Netherlands. An obscure time, according to De Lange. In emulating his pictorial examples, he came across a content he portrayed as "Claire -and- obscure". This as a counterpart to the famous painterly use of the Claire obscure. Madonna with long pieces of meat, youngsters in a quest for religion, women presented offering sensuality. In the anachronistic way, research shifts to the Romantic era. The human being as a wrestler, a seeker with a view to the horizon. But the horizon of what is De Lange wondering. The figures appear distraught, like vagrants, anorexic patients, drunks. The portraits are soulless figures that he leaves us desperate through the paint.
The new millennium brings large works to an even larger format. This to compete with Billboards, advertisements and the movie screen format. The format plays a big role in wanting to be the counterpart of a media world full of advertising. The impotence remains after watching the images from the media, TV and films. The computer goes a step further. De Lange makes the experience central to the counterweight he formulated himself: "Don't look now". The impotence of perfection that mainly comes from Hollywood. The return to the center of his starting point 'The paradox of desire' finds its expression in the paradox.
The wishes get stuck in the destruction (Ophelia 2006-2008) or in the impossible of the quest itself (The impossible 2010 -2012). After a stay of 2 months in Los Angeles, the series "The search" and "The impossible" are created in which the central theme the downside of the film industry world with its stars and make belief. A fabricated worldview called Hollywood and Walt Disney.
In the years that followed, De Lange turned his gaze back to Europe. Religion and its deception (The mission 2015), religion its exodus to the Caliphate (The arrival 2016). After those concept chapters the rise of president Trump in 'Move on' 2018. Oscar's so white with Images of white actors playing roles from Egyptian Queen's or Chinese villans. The actors around the president smirking there way up while the inaugaration leaves a world on fire, with the chosen power drifting away on a raft in a swamp. The tyranny, the wars and the impotence reach De Lange through the media.
Almost all the images he paints are based on existing material, such as film stills, photos made by himself, found on the internet or in card totes via the local markets. Emphasis is placed on the representation of photographic reality. He examines the image by means of his painterly display with which he finds a meaning that goes beyond the found photo. Because the information of his subjects unwittingly comes to him, he turns the facts into his imaginary world. The last two years he has been working on a series in which the Middle East is central. The name is revealing and questioning: "The Mirror".

Ralph de Lange's work encompasses a variety of artistic media, aesthetic decisions and discursive practices. His paintings, drawings, digital media and his photographs explore the possibilities of images and respond to our contemporary conditions of experience with optical, cognitive and sensual models and vehicles of reflection.
The photographer cannot freely predispose the elements of his subject matter, as a painter can, to construct a picture that fits his prior conception of the subject. Instead, he discovers his subject within the possibilities proposed by his medium. The promise of a world not known only in make belief. People in pictures looks like they are waiting for a reason. Searching for an answer. As if the photo reveals a truth or convenience about the total of their existence. In Ralph de Lange's works the reality and surreal states of images and his subjects carry equal weight but together the meaning and therefore it’s content shifts by it’s combination and interaction. Through their dynamic interplay, figurative, abstract and surreal forms of representation shift our perception and the definition of reality. The figures in the artist's art works are simultaneously physis and bearers of wide-ranging social and cultural-historical relationships. In his paintings each work initially arises from an idea in reality with it's own history. In an analytical approach to the subjects, De Lange then explores the broadest variety of different sources of material and devises to occur in that specific imagery. The conclusion in the art works display human actions in their environments showing our collective fears and desires. In the digital media the archival images are composed in episodes that we migrate through sections variously reminiscent of cinematic melodrama or commercial advertising. In this process-based practice, categorizations and referential systems shed their original meaning, develop a life of their own, and expand in time and space through the rearrangement by narration through these combinations of images.


The nature of the past – Black decadence 2011 - 2013


t's all messed up 
when it's nowhere to go, 
so we won't take the time out
'till we reach the top, 

At the center of de Lange"s installation is Cleopatra (Galery Guns & Butter, Amsterdam 2013). She who was said to control every gaze, is lost here under layers, merely an image of an image, an icon exclusively perceived and transmitted through visual representations. Centuries of male fantasies, of her exoticism, luminosity, opulent wealth and power, diminished to a picture of Elizabeth Taylor on a pale book.

Landscapes behind multi-hued filters take on the appearance of film stills. The series conveys a mood or a feeling but without a plot. De Lange sets the landscapes in a state of flux. It suggests nature’s underlying dreamy structures, endless growth and abundance, and, ultimately, underlines our shared need to connect with it and the stories we create.
Power is one of the subjects where the art of Ralph de Lange relates to, it’s especially recognizable when it’s portrayed vulnerable.
The underlying motive for this art installation is our search for unity. A desire for an ideal world. The central question is how can we experience our dreams within reality ?
Are we all kings and queens? Is there still a connection with the past or are we on the edge of a new doorway?
Working on large scale paintings. autonomous photography, drawing, digital prints and installations. Combining photography, collages and painting in a research between movie, real life and the question of desire by human being. A world without the means of time but captured in time. The themes of his stories relates to fear and desire, and the making of an existence. There is no written story, only a story to be told.


Juggling technical options 2014


There are three types of men in philosophy.
Sartre’s existential man. By the death of god, a terrible freedom bears down upon the human; and with this heaviness, a despair in encountering and coming to terms with a cold and empty moral universe. Existential Man realizes that without a set of ethical bearings to navigate by, life itself is an endless parade of sensation, acquisition or conquest that at best is transitory, since our exertions and the fruit thereof will expire alongside us.
Marcuse’s one-dimensional man who basically has nothing to say and is ‘lived’ by his environment.
Baudrillard's ideas which no long centre on man, reject all the big stories, and view man as a constantly changing being without direction, without roots, always playing with the possiblities.
This playing man has developed to such an extent that playing has taken over. At essential points in society, playing has become the method for all manner of actions. Power, attention, sex and love work together in their own fields in our world of desire for a roleplay in our lifes. This undercurrent in human's habitat is a hidden space for yearning, rejection and make belief.
De Lange's photography, digital media, painting and drawing art works investigates questions surrounding desire versus drama as tools for men as drifters.